Pre-Production Origin Completion Certificates

In the '80s, completing the main plot of a CRPG could be a Sisyphean task, consuming scores of hours of a gamer's time, even if you'd invested in the clue book or written off to your favourite magazine begging for hints from your fellow readers. But in an era when most people didn't have easy access to the internet to gloat about their victory, let alone achievement trackers, how was a poor schmuck to prove that they'd even finished the damn thing?

Easy: you sent off for the completion certificate. 

The Ultima Codex Wiki has a full set of certificates for Ultima III through VIII, but before those final print versions could be created, the text and artwork had to be laid out by hand on a paste-up board before being photographed. The negatives would then be sent to the printers. Reproduced below are some of the paste-ups and a couple of other unusual certificates, unsigned blanks, and pre-production items, courtesy of Joe Garrity at the Origin Museum.

Ultima III


"The prototype paste-up master for the Ultima III completion certificate." - Joe
The tracing paper not only protects the fragile pasted parts, but also gives the designer somewhere to make annotations for the print process, particularly when it comes to colouring. - K.G.


"The prototype paste-up master for the Ultima III completion certificate (open)." - Joe
This is dated 1986. I guess, once shot, the image would have been going to a photo-offset lithographic printing press. - K.G.


"Original drawing from the development of the Ultima III completion certificate. Note that this is not the final (--the tail is different)." - Joe
Poor thing. This is why dragons became endangered after the breaking of Sosaria, you know. - K.G.


"The Ultima III completion certificate." - Joe

Ultima IV


"The prototype paste-up master for the Ultima IV completion certificate." - Joe


"The prototype paste-up master for the Ultima IV completion certificate (open)." - Joe


"The Ultima IV completion certificate--note that it is unsigned." - Joe


Ultima V


"The prototype paste-up master for the Ultima V completion certificate." - Joe
The production designer's mark-up indicating the Pantone Matching System (PMS) colours to be used are really clear here. - K.G.


"The prototype paste-up master for the Ultima V completion certificate (open)." - Joe

"The Ultima V completion certificate (unsigned)." - Joe


Ultima Trilogy


"The incredibly rare Ultima Trilogy completion certificate." - Joe
Joe also mentioned that very few people realised that there even was a certificate on offer for those who successfully played all the way through each of the games in the Trilogy box. -  K.G.


Moebius


"The ultra-rare Moebius completion certificate. I know noone else that has one of these" - Joe